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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Lng Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-01-28

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    JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in opposition to H.R. 351, the ``LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act.'' Mr. Speaker, I am not anti-energy exploration. I am not anti-trade. I am, however strongly ``pro-jobs,'' ``pro-economic growth,'' and ``pro- sustainable environment.'' As a Member of Congress from Houston I have always been mindful of the importance of, and have strongly advocated for, national energy policies that will make our nation energy independent, preserve and create jobs, and keep our nation's economy strong.

    That is why I carefully consider each energy legislative proposal brought to the floor on its individual merits and support them when they are sound, balanced, fair, and promote the national interest.

    Where they fall short, I believe in working across the aisle to improve them if possible by offering constructive amendments.

    Although I believe the nation would benefit by increased exports of natural gas, the legislation before contains several provisions that are of great concern to me.

    Pursuant to Section 2, subsection (a) of the bill, an application for authorization to export LNG is ``deemed'' approved if the Department of Energy (DOE) or other federal agencies do not approve or deny the application within 30 days of the conclusion of the site review.

    I have three concerns with this regulatory scheme.

    First, as a senior member of the Committee on the Judiciary, I have a problem with ``deeming'' something done that has not been done in fact.

    Thus, the provision is unwise.

    Second, this provision is a remedy in search of a problem. There is no lengthy or intolerable backlog of neglected natural gas export authority applications awaiting action by DOE.

    The provision is unnecessary because DOE has to date authorized the export of over 10 billion cubic feet per day of LNG to non-Free Trade Agreement countries.

    Together with exports to FTA countries, this level of LNG exports that would transform the United States into one of the world's largest exporters.

    Third, the provision is irresponsible because it would require DOE and other agencies to make decisions based on incomplete information or information that may not be available within the stringent deadlines, and to deny applications that otherwise would have been approved, but for lack of sufficient review time.

    Supporters of this bill argue that it is vital, in the face of Russian aggression and restrictions, to provide our allies in Europe with additional exports of LNG.

    However, because actual exports through approved terminals are not expected to begin until late 2015, this legislation will have no impact on current exports.

    And, limiting the time for review would prevent DOE from properly analyzing the domestic impact that of exporting large amounts of LNG.

    The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that increased exports could result in an increase of as much as 8 percent in domestic LNG prices.

    Given the inherent delicacy involved in assessing the impact of trade authorizations, both domestically and abroad, this state of affairs is likely to lead to DOE erring on the side of caution and denying applications that may otherwise have been approved if it had more time and more resources to carry out its responsibilities.

    For these reasons, I urge all Members to oppose the bill before us and urge my colleagues to join me.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time for debate has expired.

    Pursuant to House Resolution 48, the previous question is ordered on the bill.

    The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.

    The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was read the third time.

    Motion to Recommit Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, I have a motion to recommit at the desk.

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